Ted Cruz made it clear in August that he planned to renounce his Canadian citizenship by the end of 2013. But despite the pretty simple renunciation process it's a new year and he's still a Canuck — not that there's anything wrong with it. According to Canadian immigration lawyers, the process isn't nearly as complicated as he's making it out to be: all he really needs to do is download a four-page PDF, fill it out, pay a fee and send it back. Also, the fourth page is just signatures. If Cruz had started the application process back in August when he announced his renunciation plan, he'd already be free of his embarrassing status as a Canadian, since the average wait time is three to four months. If you urgently need to renounce your citizen, then you just write “Urgent – Renunciation of Canadian Citizenship” in large dark letters on the envelope you send your application in.
“Unless there’s a security issue that hasn’t been disclosed, unless there’s a mental health issue that hasn’t been disclosed, there’s no reason for anything other than a lickety-split process to occur,” Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration attorney, told the Associated Press. Cruz's September filibuster was a little odd, but we're going to assume that any mental health issue that would make him ineligible to denounce his citizenship would also make him ineligible to be a United States Senator.
Last month, Cruz told the Dallas Morning News that he had retained counsel to help him get through the process. But why would a Harvard educated lawyer need someone to help him answer questions like:
“It’s not complicated at all,” Stephen Green, a Toronto-based immigration law who offered to help Cruz, told the AP. “They make sure you understand what you’re doing, that you’re not going to become a stateless person, and then you’re rock ‘n’ roll, and good to go. I would assume that if he’s retained counsel, this could have been done by now.”
One possible answer for why it's not done is that he wants to keep his options open. If Cruz can't become the first Canadian-born, half-Cuban, Tea Party president of the United States, then Canada could always be an option. Not that Cruz really understands the way things work up north. He said he learned about his Canadian citizenship from the Dallas Morning News, even though their citizenship law works exactly the same as America's (if you're born there, you're a citizen).
Another, more valid, explanation is that Ted Cruz doesn't have proof he's an American citizen. As Steven Lubet, a law professor at Northwestern University, explained on Salon in September, there is one tricky part of the form — Cruz has to provide documentation proving that he's a citizen of another country other than Canada. And according to Lubet:
Only one of Ted’s parents was a citizen when he was born (his father is a Cuban émigré who did not take U.S. citizenship until 2005), and he therefore falls under a special section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies to “Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent.” Under that provision, Cruz only qualifies for American citizenship if his mother was “physically present” in the United States for 10 years prior to his birth, five of which had to be after she reached the age of 14.
That may be the undisclosed problem that's holding him up. He'd need leases, school records and other documents to prove his mother's whereabouts for a decade. But then again, he's been living in the United States since he was four — surely he had to prove he's an American citizen sometime in the last 39 years.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.